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October 6, 2011

Corn Planting in Rio Grande do Sul Passes Half Way Mark

Farmers all throughout Brazil have enthusiastically embraced corn and are increasing their 2011/12 corn acreage. The full-season corn acreage in Brazil is expected to increase 10% and the safrinha corn acreage is expected to increase 13%. Farmers are currently planting full-season corn in Brazil, but they will not start planting the safrinha corn until the soybeans are harvested in January or February.

In the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul for example; farmers are in the midst of planting 1.1 million hectares of full-season corn or approximately 5% more than in 2010/11. The reason for the increase in corn production is obvious, it's the price. Even though international corn prices have fallen significantly in recent days, the weakening of the Brazilian currency has compensated for much of the price declines.

A 60 kilogram sack of corn is currently selling for R$ 25 in northern Rio Grande do Sul compared to R$ 15 per sack a year ago. In addition to the price, farmers are also embracing more corn production as a way to increase their rotation with soybeans. Southern Brazil is a corn deficit region and livestock producers are very happy to see increased corn acreage in their states. Corn acreage had declined for the last two years in southern Brazil forcing livestock producers to bring in corn from central Brazil at very high transportation costs.

The weather thus far this planting season in southern Brazil has generally been good and farmers in Rio Grande do Sul have managed to plant more than half of their intended corn acreage. The corn that is being planted now will be harvested in February or March.

Even though safrinha corn production is not a common practice in the state, some farmers in the northern regions of the state have indicated they will try to plant safrinha corn after the harvest of their early maturing soybeans. The state of Mato Grosso will still have the largest safrinha corn acreage in Brazil followed by the state of Parana.